Gender-Based Violence Takes Center Stage as Women Minister Advocates for Change

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…A Call to Empowerment and Equality for Nigerian Women

 

In a resounding call to action, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, has emphatically declared that women across the country will no longer stand idly by while the scourge of Gender-based Violence (GBV) continues to cast a dark shadow on the lives of innocent children NEGROIDHAVEN can say.

Speaking at the 23rd Regular National Council Meeting on Women Affairs held in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, Minister Ohanenye urged participants to escalate their efforts in combating gender-based violence, structural inequalities, and other harmful practices that disproportionately affect women and children in Nigeria.

‘The pain and violence experienced by any child is a pain shared by us all, and it is our collective responsibility to shield and safeguard them,’ proclaimed the Minister.

Ohanenye’s resolve, especially in the context of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is palpable. She stressed that survivours of such practices are often voiceless and defenseless, relying on mothers and women in general for protection. The Minister acknowledged that these harmful practices often lead to fatalities due to infections, primarily in remote villages where basic hygiene knowledge is scarce.

In a bold stance against the persistence of these practices, Ohanenye announced forthcoming campaigns to sensitise communities through traditional methods like town criers. She affirmed the government’s determination to hold accountable those who perpetrate FGM, warning that whistle-blowers and those involved in such practices would face severe consequences.

The keynote address delivered by Cross River Governor, Prince Bassey Otu, added another dimension to the conversation. Governor Otu emphasised the need to educate men as a means of curbing gender-based violence and related issues. He underscored that men often perpetrate violence and gender inequality, making them the focal point for change.

‘The root of the problem lies with men, so the solution must also start with men,’ stated Otu. He called for seminars and interactions geared towards enlightening men about the importance of liberating women and providing them with equal opportunities.

Governor Otu also stressed the significance of reversing centuries-old inequalities suffered by women. He advocated for more than just equal opportunities for women, suggesting that they should be given more opportunities to counterbalance the historical disparities.

In the spirit of collaboration, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Edema Irom, hailed the timely hosting of the event shortly after her swearing-in. She expressed confidence that the outcomes of the meeting, combined with her extensive experience, would provide a solid foundation for addressing women’s issues across all sectors of the economy.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Monilola Udoh, added to the momentum by presenting a total of 129 memoranda raised at the meeting to the Minister.

The 23rd Regular National Council Meeting on Women Affairs has underscored a resolute commitment towards a future free from gender-based violence and inequality. With strong advocates like Minister Ohanenye and Governor Otu leading the charge, Nigeria is taking strides towards creating a safer, more equal society for its women and children.